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MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby Bill Rogers » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:19 pm

Is the prop in the photo below a right hand or left hand prop? I assume it's right hand because looking from aft the prop turns right (clockwise) to move the boat forward.

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"Will" Rogers
SSBN659
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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby Bill Rogers » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:41 pm

The sail has proven to be a real challenge in reaching the level of detail I was hoping for. My blueprints of SSBN641 were close but didn’t show what I could find from photos on the web. The photos I was able to find helped a lot but they also showed a lot of fine detail I would not be able to model at a 1:120 scale. So, I proceed with the idea of adding everything I can that would be within my ability and hope for the best.

Another challenge was figuring out what SSBN659 might have looked like because in researching the boat I found many variations between the different classes within the forty-one for freedom. So, as I proceed I’ll be happy to take any information or suggestions from those of you who may have crewed on Will Rogers.

Since my blueprint showed only the starboard side of the sail I looked to the web for a shot of the port side also. The two shots below gave me a good start and I also found others that were helpful.

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The next step was to scan my blueprint of the 641 sail and reverse it with Photoshop so I could pencil in some details from the photos.

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Then I cut out a plan view of the sail and glued it to a piece of plywood for rough shaping using my bench sander. It helped to attach the plywood to a piece of MDF. Once the first side was done I reversed the plywood on the MDF and shaped the other side.

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I glued a dowel rod to the sail for holding it while I did some more sanding to get the taper for the after end. This didn’t work out as well as I had hoped and I cut off too much of the taper on the after end of the sail. To correct this mistake I glued a popsicle stick to the after end and filled in with the “Easy Sand” to get the shape I needed.

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Here’s a shot of the starboard side after filler and primer. At this point I’ve attached the sail to a piece of 1x2 with screws for ease of more sanding and painting as I add the details.

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In my next post I’ll show how I did the planes, scribing and some of the masts.

“Will” Rogers
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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby Bill Rogers » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:07 pm

When working on a model like this there is always a point where you have to stop to let filler cure, epoxy set or paint dry. Fortunately there are other parts to work on so down time is not wasted. During some of these times I molded and cast the sail planes and made up some of the masts using brass, aluminum and styrene shapes. The masts were a challenge because, you guessed it, each class of boat had something a little bit different even within the particular class. Also at this scale it would be a trick to model every mast. Finally, there were probably not many times when all masts were deployed at the same time. So I will display those shown on my favorite photo of the Will Rogers which is from the book Sharks of Steel by Yogi Kaufman and Paul Stillwell with photography by Steve and Yogi Kaufman.

As an interesting aside, Yogi Kaufman, more formally known as Vice Admiral Robert Y. Kaufman, USN (Ret.), earlier commissioned Will Rogers during his 38 year navy career.

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I needed some small sanding sticks to work on the sail so rather than buy them it was very easy to make my own using popsicle sticks and tongue depressors. Two different grades of paper were glued to the stick and the grade penciled as shown. I also used a circular paper glued to a piece of melamine and rectangular pieces of sandpaper folded in half and CA’d to make the squares. The squares were another trick I learned form David’s Cabal Reports.

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You may have noticed the brass rod embedded in the sail planes as they were cast. This was to help position the plane and add strength to the joint when I attached the planes to the sail. To make sure of a good joint I first laid a strip of clear tape on the sail then buttered the plane with filler. I held the plane in place for a minute or so. When the filler had partially cured, I removed the plane and used a hobby knife to remove the excess. Yes, there was some follow up sanding needed but when all was finished I had very good surface to surface contact for attaching the planes.

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Before attaching the plans I started scribing using the details I had taken from photos and my blueprints of the sail. Here you see a set of four cover plates for access to the snorkel intake/exhaust mast. The template was cut from a piece of styrene and of course held in place by blue tape.

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In the picture below you see my laser level to check the alignment and position of the sail on the hull before final attachment.

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Here are two shots of the sail. One from above showing more of the scribing and the running light on the starboard side, and one of the port side. Each of the masts and the snorkel will have a rod that fits into the holes you see drilled in the top of the sail. For those of you who are very alert, you will have noticed the slant on the after end of the running lights is wrong based on the photos I’ve found. This was one of my mistakes and it has been corrected. Also, note the sail is sitting on a piece of paper with the safety track lines laid out. The safety track runs along the port side only to the watertight door. Sailors had to go aft to connect to the main track on the starboard side.

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Here’s another neat trick. I needed several small parts for this model but wasn’t sure how to mold them. Then I remembered something I saw in one of David’s reports and “Bingo”. By punching several of various shapes into a pad of flat clay I had a very inexpensive mold. Then I mixed up a small amount of casting resin and poured it over the holes. Finally I covered the resin with a sheet of waxed paper. What you see below is the result. I picked the best of the castings and rubbed them over my flat sandpaper to get rid of the backing.

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If you are like I am you frequently want to see how your work is progressing. This picture is a bit out of sequence but it shows how things are beginning to shape up.
Excuse all the filler and the masts. They were just temporarily set in place for this picture.

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Oh, by the way, I just ordered my prop from the Prop-Shop in the UK. I thought I had better order it now in case there is a long lead-time to get it.


“Will” Rogers
SSBN659
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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby Bill Rogers » Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:57 pm

Progress on USS WILL ROGERS, last of the “Forty-one for Freedom”, continues. I’ve been working on the main deck scribing and fittings as well as painting the underwater hull. My plan is to paint up to just above the waterline first so I can mount the model on a stand that protects the underside while I continue work on the topside. In the two photos that follow the sail still has not been permanently attached. It’s just there for the photos and to verify what the final will look like. At this point I’ve laid out and drilled holes in the main deck for mounting the retractable cleats and capstans as well as the MBT vents. I wanted to do this while the deck is still in primer in case I had to correct any errors in the locations. All locations were penciled in and verified against my drawings before and after drilling.

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I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I would use HO gauge railroad spikes for the cleats. The spikes appear to be very close to scale. The next task was to make the capstans. For this I used 1/8 inch aluminum pop rivets. The rivet head was turned down using my drill press as a “vertical lathe” and a mill file to get to the diameter I needed for scale.
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Not counting a couple of attempts that weren’t what I wanted I used 4 pop rivets to make the two capstans. After two rivet heads were turned down I cut off one head with my Dremel and slid it onto the shank of the second rivet as shown in the next photo.

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Then I popped the heads off and reversed them on the shank, cut the nob off the shank and CA’d the two heads to the remaining shank. In the photo below the capstan on the top has been completed. The one on the bottom has yet to be popped off the shank and reversed but I think you get the picture.

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The finished capstans will be CA’d into pre-drilled 1/8 inch holes in the main deck after the main deck has been painted. This way the finished capstans will not need any painting since the aluminum should look very realistic.

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My pan for the MBT vents is to use small zinc coated nails with a 9/64 inch diameter head. The nails will be inserted into main deck holes with only the heads showing as the vents.

I’ve got other plans for the escape hatches but that will come in a later post.

“Will” Rogers
SSBN659
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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby Bill Rogers » Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:06 pm

Since my last post I received my prop from the Prop Shop UK. It came in record time. Unfortunately it went back in record time because the casting had some flaws. Fortunately the company has been very accommodating. They agreed to furnish another prop and it too arrived in good time. So in spite of some concerns I’ve heard about the company, I’m happy with their resolution of my issues.

Now on to the hull. After painting the first coat of “Grimy Black” on the upper hull I set the sail (still in gray primer) on the hull to see how things looked. So far, so good. We’re getting closer to the finish line.

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Meanwhile I’ve been working on the hand grabs that form the ladder on the sail. I made a template out styrene and taped it to the sail. Then using a very small drill bit in a pin vise I drilled out the holes.

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Then I fabricated each grab out of #22 copper wire using my needle nose pliers to bend the shape. Each one is 3 millimeters wide. There are 64 holes on the sail alone and 32 on the hull. I should have drilled the holes before attaching the fairwater planes. It would have made the job a lot easier because the pin vise kept hitting the planes. It took a couple of days to drill out the holes and “fab the grabs”.

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Then each one was inserted into the sail carefully using needle nose pliers and sometimes tweezers after CA’ing the legs of the grabs. After all 64 were glued into place I stepped back to admire my handiwork. After looking at it for awhile and comparing it to several different photos I have of the real ones I finally realized the scale was way off – too big! In addition, the holes were larger than the legs and I had no idea of how I was going to fill the gaps.

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After mumbling a few choice words to myself I pulled out each grab so I could start over with 26 gauge copper wire. In the process of breaking loose the grabs, I also broke off one of the planes. Not my day. So, knowing it would be easier filling and re-drilling the holes without the planes I removed the other plane and filled the holes.

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After filling and sanding the holes for the grabs and planes I started over, this time to use a #70 drill bit and 26 gauge wire. I drilled the holes using a new template and fabricated new grabs – took a couple afternoons just for the grabs. Then I reinstalled the planes and airbrushed the sail using Floquil’s “Grimy Black”. Then I inserted each grab in the sail and the superstructure – another time consuming task as each grab had to be fitted in the hole to make sure it was right, then removed and the legs dipped in gap filling CA glue and re-inserted.

Here’s what she looks like at this point after wet sanding with 600 grit paper.

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Some of the grabs need straightening and she needs a final airbrushing of “Grimy Black”. After that it will be some “Flat Black” on the main deck and planes but I’m getting ahead of myself so it’s back to work.

“Will” Rogers
SSBN659
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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby Bill Rogers » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:44 pm

In my most recent post on this model I had painted the hull, wet sanded it and was getting ready for another coat of “Grimy Black”. I decided I didn’t like it - too black. The black made it look like the entire upper hull and sail were painted with “non-skid” paint.

So I went back to my stock of paints and tested several different mixes to see how I could lighten it up a bit. With a bit the original black and some gray I mixed a color I thought was close enough to some of the pictures I had found on the web. Since I already had one coat of what I’ll call “non-skid” on the hull and sail I thought I would make the best use of what I had.

The sail had not yet been permanently attached to the superstructure so I masked the planes with blue painters tape. Then for ease of airbrushing I attached the sail to a foot long piece of 1X2 with double-sided tape. This allowed me to airbrush the entire sail and underside of the planes without painting my hand. Here’s the result with the “non-skid” on the planes standing out nicely.

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As I started to mask the main deck to save the “non-skid” I found a couple other things I wasn’t happy with. First, the escape hatches just didn’t meet my expectations. Also, the location of the retractable cleats on the port side forward was too close to the centerline.

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I drilled out the escape hatches with a Forstner bit and fabricated new “flat” hatches to glue in place.

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First I cut a piece of ½ inch dowel to fit into the holes I had drilled. Next I drew a hatch on a piece of .015” styrene. Using round and square templates I scribed the hatch as shown below. I also marked the location for the grabs for a rescue chamber.

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Then I glued the styrene to the dowel and attached the assembly to a piece of scrap with double-sided tape. As you can see the piece is small and I didn’t want to drill my hand while drilling the holes for the grabs.

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I used a #20 gauge wire brad to drill five holes then bent #26 gauge copper wire into U shapes to form the grabs. The legs of the U were made long enough to insert through the assembly and pull them tight enough to form a grab that looks close to scale. Once I was satisfied they looked okay, I used gap-filling CA glue on the under side to secure them in place. When the glue had dried, I snipped off the excess wire on the bottom.

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Finally, I looped a piece of wire through the center grab and temporarily inserted the hatch to see how it fit. It fit just fine so I lifted it out with the piece of wire and set the hatch aside for priming and final painting.

You can also see how I relocated the holes and scribing for the retractable cleats. Next step – more sanding and painting.

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“Will” Rogers
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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby greenman407 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:33 pm

:D Looks amazing! I love it when a plan comes together!
There are OLD pilots and there are BOLD pilots but there are very few OLD BOLD pilots. MAG
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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby Bill Rogers » Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:30 pm

Yes, it is coming together but I want to step back a bit.

Back when I started my model I hadn’t thought too much about the paint scheme I would use. Then some months ago my thought was to go with what I thought was a typical launching scheme, i.e. red anti-fouling below the waterline and black above. When I started researching I found some different choices.

This is the Daniel Boone SSBN 629), what I thought the typical launch scheme looked like. And I did find several boats painted this at launching.

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Then I found that Will Rogers was different. She was likely painted with red anti-fouling below the waterline but then with a black boot-topping from the centerline up to about the waterline before launching. I read that the red anti-fouling paint did not hold up well when hit with wind and wave action and so the reason for boot-topping. If you look closely at the following picture, I believe you can see what I think is the boot-topping. It is a different black than the rest of the hull.

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Since I was modeling the Last of the Forty-One for Freedom, I thought I’d check to see what the First of the Forty-One looked like when launched. What a surprise! If anyone out there can explain that scheme please share it with us. This is USS George Washington – SSBN 598.

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For my model I finally chose to go with the as launched scheme but with a grey black above the centerline to represent what the boat might have looked like in later years, maybe having recently come out of it’s last overhaul. This is all guesswork mind you but it works well for me.

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At this point I just about finished painting the model but I wanted to step back and share some of my research with you since I thought it was interesting.

In my next post I’ll cover some of the finer details I’ve been working on behind the scene as I waited for glues and paints to dry.

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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby ManOwaR » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:33 am

This is a very enjoyable build log to read, Bill. I like the way you approach problems and solve them. Lots of great tricks to learn here too, I know I'm going to use a few!

Regards,
Joel
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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby Bill Rogers » Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:35 pm

Thanks very much Joel, it means a lot to me coming from one of the Masters in this hobby.
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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby greenman407 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:00 pm

I dont know, maybe you might think about doing something different than the norm as you have suggested. Why not the first picture that you posted(Daniel Boone) showing the whole hull painted red and the upper super structure painted some shade of black, that would be attention getting. The one with just the reverse of this would possibly look like somebody made a mistake. :lol: :wink:
There are OLD pilots and there are BOLD pilots but there are very few OLD BOLD pilots. MAG
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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby Bill Rogers » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:01 pm

It’s been almost a year and a half since I started actual construction of this model but my research started over 10 years ago. Now the completion is very near and I’m down to “the host of other goodies” I mentioned in my very first post.

This binder contains my research photos and sections of various plans. The photo on the cover along with others was my guide to the various masts I wanted to represent. Each mast as well as all other fittings except for the propeller had to be handmade. I just didn’t have the tools nor the skill to make a suitable prop.

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In the photo below you see from left to right: the surface-search radar, snorkel induction/exhaust, AN/BRA 15 antenna (MF/HF), No. 2 periscope (radar/ECM), and No.1 periscope (attack). Each mast was hand shaped using a combination of brass rod, brass tubing of teardrop and circular cross sections, styrene tubing & strips, blue masking tape strips and wooden toothpicks, believe it or not. I followed the paint schemes I found in the research photos as best I could. It’s a good thing there were so many of these boats because although they were not all exactly the same, they were similar in most respects. I also had some help from a former Will Rogers crew member. Thanks Bob.

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On the main deck I used model railroad spikes for the retractable cleats and #18 gauge wire nails for the main ballast tank vents. The spikes were painted white and the wire nails painted aluminum. Here they are drying in a scrap piece of balsa.

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For sacrificial zincs at the rudder and stern planes I used some small pieces of black cable ties I had left over from another project. I cut them to length, secured them to blue tape and painted them aluminum. Then using one of my carving tools I scored each one three times to simulate four zincs.
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I thought they worked just fine. By the way, the stern/anchor light was cast in resin using an LED as the master and pressed into clay for the mold. I drilled a very small hole in the top of the rudder and the light. Then I glued a piece of 26 gauge wire into the light and then glued the assembly into the rudder.

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For the cooling water intake screens I found some etched brass at a hobby shop called “Just Trains”. Since my local hobby shop closed a few years ago I’ve been able to find many things I can use that were meant for the railroad train hobby. Hey, whatever works! I found an open punch set at Harbor Freight (thanks for the tip Mike). I used two different sizes to punch out brass screens for attaching to brass tubing.

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The challenge was attaching the screen to the tubing. I tried soldering them but that didn’t work as well as I had hoped. In the end I CA’d the screens to the tubes. The final assembly was then inserted and CA’d into the holes I had pre-drilled into the hull way back when.

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And now for the last “goodie”. I was able to find one fairly good photo of the Secondary Propulsion Motor on the Henry Clay in drydock. Believe me folks, there are some good pictures of these boats on the web if you are willing to do the research. Anyhow, using the picture and the drawing I made the SPM using styrene, Evercoat filler and CA glue. The Evercoat filler was spread heavily around one end of the tubing and allowed to dry. Then using my vertical lathe, aka “drill press”, and sand paper strips I shaped the SPM. The cover plate and brackets are styrene and the mount is a brad. Here you see it next to the prop in the first and deployed in the second photo.

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Each of these fittings except for the “zincs” has a “rod” of some sort to be inserted into pre-drilled holes in the sail or hull to provide support.

In my next post I’ll talk about marks and hull number.


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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby Boss subfixer » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:29 pm

She's coming along beautifully! I want to point out one small detail though. Your zincs are wrong, they are not that big length wise. If you look real close at the dry dock picture above that shows the stern you can see there are at least eight zincs per row. The width seems o.k. I use to work for Electric Boat as an outside machinist and have installed a few over the years. I don't remember what the dimensions of the zincs are but they weighed about 58 lbs a piece. Again your doing a great job and I applaud your use of every day common items to make what you need.
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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby Rogue Sub » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:57 pm

If I had to make a guess on the zinks I would say 14x4" I could go ask around and find out if you guys were curious enough.
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Re: MODELING THE USS WILL ROGERS

Postby Boss subfixer » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:33 pm

14" long sounds close but I know they are wider than 4"
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